Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.
Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Chief’s Mess, the third book in the Anchor Point series!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24th, and winners will be announced on June 25th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Chief’s Mess Exclusive Excerpt
I could not sit still.
I’d been in baggage claim for a good half an hour already, and Noah’s plane hadn’t even touched down yet. I’d paced and squirmed all over the house forever before I’d left. After all, there could be traffic. Or it might take me a while to find a place to park. Or his flight could come in early.
Yeah, right. There was no traffic. I found a parking space in seconds. And his flight was delayed ten minutes because the world was a giant bag of dicks.
Now we were in that ten-minute window. When, in a parallel universe, Noah was already wheels down and on his way to me. But no, I had to wait a few more minutes. Fuck.
I was so excited I couldn’t see straight. Screwing off on my phone couldn’t hold my attention. There was no one around who looked like they wanted a stranger to strike up a conversation. Nothing to do but wait. Wait. Wait. I didn’t wait well. The more I was looking forward to something—or someone—the less patient I was. The more I needed to do something to occupy my hands, brain, feet. Hell, I’d even checked the restrooms near baggage claim in case one might be suitable to . . . get reacquainted. After all, a lot of the restrooms in this airport doubled as tornado shelters. Seemed like they were sturdy enough to handle a Noah-Anthony reunion.
The thought made me chuckle. I was so tired I was almost slap happy. Not that I’d been awake half the night or anything. Or practically ping-ponging off the walls until I’d finally decided to leave early in case I couldn’t find a place to park. My roommate had laughed at my impatience and all my rationalizing about leaving early. At least he’d probably be gone by the time I came home. Jay was smart like that—if I was this excited about a man I was going to bang, things were going to be loud.
Rocking on my feet to expend some nervous energy, I stared at the screen. It refreshed, and when Delayed turned to Arrived, I almost spontaneously combusted.
Of course the plane still had to taxi, attach to the gate, and wait for God knew what to happen in that interim before someone finally opened the fucking door. And because no one had invented teleportation, Noah had to hoof it off the plane and through the terminal, and the Denver Airport was fucking massive, so it took forever to make that walk.
Six hours later—or maybe like ten minutes; I’d kind of lost track—he appeared, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and looking as fuckable as ever. I couldn’t help grinning like an idiot.
“Hey,” he said when he was in earshot, and held his arms out.
“Hey, you.” I hugged him tight, wishing like hell we could do more than that in public. “So good to see you.”
I took a breath to say something else, but caught the faintly pungent scent of alcohol. I figured he must’ve just had a drink, and ignored it.
At least, until we started toward short-term parking, and his gait wobbled slightly.
What the hell?
“Yeah. Yeah.” He laughed, adjusting the bag’s strap again, though it seemed pretty well seated on his shoulder.
The scent of alcohol still lingered in my nose. “You’re not . . . drunk, are you?”
“No!” He chuckled. “I had a few on the plane, but I’m good.”
I eyed him dubiously.
“I’m a nervous flyer,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a couple of drinks to calm my nerves.”
“Oh. I guess I can understand that.” I paused. “You should’ve told me. I’m fine with flying, so I could’ve come to Anchor—”
“It’s fine. Like you said, my neighbors don’t get to hog the noise complaints.” He glanced at me and winked.
I hesitated but then chuckled. “Fair enough. To the car?”
“Lead the way.”
Aside from that slight wobble, his gait was perfectly steady. So maybe I’d imagined the whole thing, or my brain was exaggerating it. I didn’t like flying either—I could totally see why someone would drink to bring down the anxiety. Thanks to Clint, though, I automatically assumed any drinking was a red flag, especially once someone showed signs of actual intoxication.
Get a grip. He was nervous about flying. You’re projecting, plain and simple.
So, I put it out of my mind, and we continued toward short-term parking.
Noah hadn’t brought much with him, so he didn’t bother putting it in the trunk, and set it at his feet as he dropped into the passenger seat and exhaled. “God, I am so glad to be off that plane.”
“Rough flight?” I buckled my seat belt. “Or just not a fan?”
“Little of both. We hit some turbulence, and that was about the time I started begging for a drink.”
“Eh, can’t blame you.”
He fussed with some papers for a second—his boarding passes, I thought—and stuffed them into his bag. As he leaned back, he said, “Also doesn’t help that one time when I flew into a base on a cargo jet, I swear our pilot was a fighter pilot before.”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“Fucker was banking like he was in a Super Hornet.” He made a gesture like his hand was a plane taking a sharp curve, the imaginary wings almost vertical. “Dude was crazy.”
“Wow.” I laughed. “I don’t think I’d enjoy that.”
“I sure as hell didn’t.” He shuddered. “When you’re already kind of nervous about being in the air, that shit is obnoxious.”
“I believe it.”
He looked out at the scenery. Not that there was much, considering the Denver Airport was surrounded by basically nothing. “They really built this place in the middle of nowhere, didn’t they?”
“Well yeah,” I deadpanned. “You don’t build the headquarters for the New World Order in downtown Los Angeles.”
He eyed me. “Come again?”
“Oh come on. You’ve never heard the conspiracy theories about the Denver Airport?”
“I have, but do people actually buy in to that shit?”
I nodded. “They do. My ex-wife’s brother totally thought they—”
Noah did a double take. “Wait, you were married before?”
I glanced at him and smirked. “Yes. The Illuminati built an airport in the middle of nowhere because God knows the center of the New World Order needs to have a Quiznos and a Hudson News, and I was married before.” I sighed dramatically, patting his thigh. “You’ve had quite a few big shocks today, Noah. If you need to take a breather, let me—”
“Shut up.” He laughed and squeezed my hand. Sobering a bit, he said, “But . . . seriously? You were married?”
I’ve been a fan of the Anchor Point series since book one. Okay, so if I’m being honest, I love just about anything LA Witt writes, and I love her ability to tell military stories. I’ll fully admit, I went into Chief’s Mess with high expectations. Unfortunately, this one fell a bit short.
From the very first chapter, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Anthony. Yes, I understand why he wasn’t his ex-brother-in-law’s BFF, but he was just a bit too much of a prick for my liking. He did redeem himself a bit, but never quite enough for my liking. He has issues with Noah’s drinking because of what he watched his sister go through in her marriage, but it felt forced. While later in the book there were incidents that’d be red flags to anyone, there were also times when he was creating an issue where there wouldn’t have been on. As an example, at one point, they’re on Skype and Noah has a drink in his hand. ONE drink. After work. In the evening. That, to most people, wouldn’t be a red flag. And if he had an issue with alcohol in any circumstances, his reaction would’ve been warranted, but he didn’t. He only seems to have issues with people he’s dating drinking.
Noah could’ve been an amazing, broken character. Sadly, other than his drinking, there was very little character development. We never learned why he lost himself in the bottle, never had a reason to cheer for him to get better, other than to hold onto some hot sex.
The story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing, either. It was a lot of sex, which for once didn’t annoy me because that fit the story, but not a lot of plot. I’m not sure what they built their relationship on beyond the chemistry in bed.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Also check out Just Drive and Afraid to Fly, the first two titles in the Anchor Point series!
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
To celebrate the release of Chief’s Mess, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!